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|Resources for Minority Law School Applicants|
|Written by Norton Gappy|
Minority law school applicants have access to a wide range of resources to assist them in all phases of obtaining a legal education and developing a successful career in the practice of law.
According to LSAC statistics, minorities are underrepresented in law school and the legal community, with “[n]o single minority group accounts for more than four percent of the lawyers in the United States.”
It should come as no surprise that the question of whether to provide assistance versus preference to minority applicants is a hotly debated issue. For a better understanding of both perspectives:
Views on Affirmative Action: Assistance, Yes; Preference, No
The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) collects statistics and data from American Bar Association (“ABA”) accredited law schools about the following factors:
1. LSAT score
To promote diversity, law schools actively seek qualified African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American students. Such ethnic groups are sought to help enrich the education process. According to the LSAC, diversity might include “contrasting economic, educational, and geographical backgrounds; different sexual orientations; varied familial or other personal experiences; or unusual careers.”
Who is a Minority Applicant?
The term “minority candidate” includes ethnic and gender minorities. Ethnic minorities include: Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and other Latin Americans, African Americans, and Native Americans (this group also includes Native Alaskans, U.S. Pacific & Virgin Islanders).
Arab Americans and Indian Americans are usually not considered minorities or “underrepresented ethnic groups” by the LSAC or law school admissions departments. However, law schools may collect data on these ethnic groups and report the information to the ABA.
High Schools and Colleges: High schools and colleges usually offer pre-law assistance for minorities to help determine whether law school is right for them or how to better prepare for admissions. Minorities in Legal Education (“MILE”) is a free service/program designed to increase the numbers of ethnic minority (as different from gender minority) students who attend law school. Students are encouraged to enroll in MILE to obtain many benefits such as:
1. Advance notice of Law School Forums;
Law Schools: While in law school, minority law students can network with other groups by participating in minority bar associations and other ethnic associations.
Another option is to enroll in a head start class (offered by some law schools). This class usually takes place in the summer right before the entering class starts its first semester in the fall. The head start class is a primer law school course which is open to minority students. Check with your law school of choice for head start offerings.
Where to Designate Minority Status
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